League of Ireland Premier Division
|Other club(s) from||Northern Ireland|
|Number of teams||12|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||League of Ireland First Division|
|Domestic cup(s)||FAI Cup|
|League cup(s)||League of Ireland Cup|
|International cup(s)||UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Setanta Sports Cup
|Current champions||Dundalk F.C.
|Most championships||Shamrock Rovers (17)|
|TV partners||RTÉ 2
|2015 League of Ireland|
The League of Ireland Premier Division (Irish: Príomhroinn Sraith na hÉireann) is the top level division in the Republic of Ireland football league system. Contested by 12 clubs, it operates a system of promotion and relegation with the League of Ireland First Division. Seasons run from March to October, with teams playing 33 matches. Most games are played on Fridays, with a few games held on Saturdays and Sundays. It was known as the Eircom Premier League from 2000 to 2008. It is currently sponsored by SSE Airtricity and therefore officially known as the SSE Airtricity Premier League.
The division was formed as the League of Ireland Premier Division in 1985 as a result of the decision to split the League of Ireland into two divisions, which also created the League of Ireland First Division. The league is ranked 36th in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years, ahead of Lithuania's A Lyga and behind Moldova's National Division. In 2009, the FAI rejected proposals from clubs to remove the first division and restore the League of Ireland to its original structure.
There are 12 clubs in the Premier Division. During the course of a season (from March to October) each club plays the others three times, once or twice at their home stadium and once or twice at that of their opponents, for a total of 33 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The team that finishes last gets relegated to the First Division automatically and the second lowest placed teams participate in a 2-legged play-off against the second placed team of the First Division with the loser being relegated to the First Division and the winner being promoted to the Premier Division.
The current League of Ireland trophy was unveiled on October 31, 2007 by the Football Association of Ireland. It stands at 91 cm (36 inches) tall with a circumference of 83 cm (33 inches). It is a Sterling Silver trophy consisting of silver and a mass of other metals including copper. The design of the trophy consists of a silver football at the top, which is encompassed by the cup itself. Drogheda United were the first team to receive the newly created trophy on November 2, 2007.
The Premier Division has been sponsored the early 1990s. The sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. There have been three sponsors since the league's formation.
- 1990's: Bord Gáis (Bord Gáis League Premier Division)
- 2000-2008: Eircom (Eircom League Premier Division)
- 2010–present: SSE Airtricity (Airtricity League Premier Division)
The league had no title sponsor in 2009, but had a number of secondary sponsors including Newstalk and Electronic Arts. League of Ireland's three year sponsorship deal with Airtricity will end in 2012. As well as sponsorship for the league itself, the Premier Division has a number of official partners and suppliers. The official ball supplier for the league is Umbro. The official drink for the league is Lucozade. The official radio and newspaper partners are Newstalk and Irish Daily Star.
In (2012) RTÉ 2 increased its coverage of the league and FAI cup from 19 games (2011) to 24 games (2012) as well a having its weekly show every Monday (MNS) to show the highlights of the weeks games.RTÉ 2 will also provide HD coverage of the final as well as select league games.
Also Setanta Sports show some league games during the Summer and towards the league climax and also have the Setanta Sports Cup Which starts in February and ends in May (final).These games are available in HD on UPC.
|Bray Wanderers||Bray||Carlisle Grounds||7,000|
|Cork City||Cork||Turner's Cross||7,485|
|Finn Harps||Ballybofey||Finn Park||6,000|
|Galway United||Galway||Eamonn Deacy Park||5,000|
|Longford Town||Longford||City Calling Stadium||6,850|
|Shamrock Rovers||Tallaght||Tallaght Stadium||6,000|
|Sligo Rovers||Sligo||The Showgrounds||5,500|
|St. Patrick's Athletic||Inchicore||Richmond Park||5,340|
|Wexford Youths||Crossabeg||Ferrycarrig Park||2,500|
The league’s current longest reigning manager is Tony Cousins, who has remained in his position at Longford Town, since December 2009. The most recent managerial appointment was Keith Long to Bohemians, who previously served as manager of Athlone Town. 12 Irish managers have won the Premier Division, with the most recent being Stephen Kenny of Dundalk in 2014. 5 managers from outside the Republic of Ireland have won the Premier Division including 3 Northern Irish managers, Jim McLaughlin (Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Shelbourne, 3 wins), Felix Healy (Derry City, 1 win), Michael O'Neill (Shamrock Rovers, 2 wins) and 2 English managers, Pat Dolan (Saint Patrick’s Athletic, 1 win) and Ian Baraclough (Sligo Rovers, 1 win). No manager from outside the British Isles has won the Premier Division. Currently all 12 of the managers are from Ireland.
The current managers in the Premier Division are:
|Tony Cousins||Longford Town||
12 December 2009
|Liam Buckley||St Patrick's Athletic||
2 December 2011
22 November 2012
|John Caulfield||Cork City||5 November 2013|
|Tommy Dunne||Galway United||
26 November 2013
|Peter Hutton||Derry City||
13 May 2014
|Pat Fenlon||Shamrock Rovers||
6 August 2014
21 July 2014
|Owen Heary||Sligo Rovers||
26 October 2014
30 October 2014
|Johnny McDonnell||Drogheda United||
29 November 2014
|Trevor Croly||Bray Wanderers||
11 May 2015